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New partnership with Jonathan Hivernat, captain of the French Wheelchair Rugby Team

Societe Generale has entered a partnership contract that will see it sponsor Jonathan Hivernat's professional sports activities until the end of 2019 and oversee initiatives to help raise awareness around disabled sport.

Jonathan Hivernat's team came 7th in the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. In 2017, they came 9th in the World Wheelchair Rugby Championships and 3rd in the European Championship. With his club, Stade Toulousain Rugby Handisport, he has won the French National Wheelchair Rugby Championship seven times.

Jonathan is on the team currently competing in the Wheelchair Rugby World Championship in Sydney between 5 and 10 August 2018.

He joins the seven other professional rugby players sponsored by Societe Generale: Jonny Wilkinson, Thierry Dusautoir, Sylvain Marconnet, Guilhem Guirado, Matt Giteau, Christian Califano and Shannon Izar. Alongside the Bank, these players are engaged in promoting the values of commitment and team spirit that Societe Generale shares with the sport of rugby. We will benefit from their expertise and professional insight during the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Societe Generale, preferred partner in rugby and disabled sport

For more than 30 years, the Bank has been a partner at all levels of rugby.

In France, it has been a partner of the French Rugby Federation (FFR) and the French teams since 1987, and the French National Rugby League (LNR) since 1998. Societe Generale provides year-round sponsorship for the 13 regional rugby leagues and nearly 500 amateur clubs.

The 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan will be the sixth time it acts as a major partner of this tournament.

It has been a partner of the French Disabled Sports Federation (FFH) since 2003 as well as the French paralympic teams. Societe Generale also sponsors para alpine ski champion Marie Bochet and disabled rower and silver medal paralympic champion Perle Bouge.

Biography of Jonathan

Jonathan, 27, was born in Figeac in 1991 and as a child was diagnosed with the hereditary motor disease Charcot-Marie-Tooth. He completed mainstream schooling in Figeac. He loved sports and excelled in disabled table tennis and horse-riding. The disease progressed and he entered a special facility in 2007. It was there, in 2010, that he discovered wheelchair rugby: “I was in Toulouse at a centre for disabled people when a wheelchair rugby team came to give a demonstration,” remembers Jonathan. “The players moved around in light wheelchairs with such vibrancy and energy.... That same day, I tried out for the coach and was selected!” Jonathan joined the Stade Toulousain Rugby Handisport club where he met three people that were pivotal to his sports career: Nicolas Costes, coach, Pablo Neumann, player and club chairman, and Olivier Cusin, his coach on the French team.

Today, Jonathan is captain of the Stade Toulousain and the French National Wheelchair Rugby teams.

Wheelchair rugby

Wheelchair rugby, also known as quad rugby, is a mixed gender team sport that originated in Canada in 1977. It is played in teams of four on a hardwood court of the same measurements as a regulation basketball court, with a round ball. “We go into Mad Max mode” jokes Jonathan: the wheelchairs are streamlined specifically for the game, with defensive wheelchairs fitted with a bumper to help hold opposing wheelchairs. The wheelchairs of attacking players are designed specifically to help strike. This has been a paralympic sport since the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Today there are more than 260 qualified players in France and 16 affiliated clubs.

Press contact:
Laure Bencheikh – +33 1 57 29 39 38 – laure.bencheikh@socgen.com - @SG_presse